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Writing Prompt – Extinct Sounds

This prompt comes from a couple of Radio 4 programmes. Today, I heard a talk about an exibition at the Tate Modern.
‘Tacita Dean has worked with film throughout her career – it is her working material, and she has written that she needs “the stuff of film as a painter needs the stuff of paint”. In recent months she has voiced her concern about the declining availability and access to film as digital technologies become the norm and photochemical labs close down.’

It reminded me of a radio programme from a few years ago. I hadn’t thought about it until I heard the programme, but certain sounds are becoming extinct.

When I was young, camcorders hadn’t been invented. No, my sister and I were immortalized on the cine camera . The film had to be sent away to be developed and when it came back (in the yellow Kodak envelope) we’d settled down on the couch.
Dad would set up the screen and Mum thread the film onto the machine. Those of you of a certain age will already be able to hear the click, click, click of the film passing through the machine.
Watching junior’s antics on the viewfinder of the camcorder seconds after he’s performed just doesn’t have the same magic.

And what about he chuff-chuff of a steam train, the ping of a cash register, the rattle of a milk float, the squeak of chalk on a board? When did you last hear any of these sounds?

Some sounds are becoming fainter every day. It won’t be long until the engaged tone on a phone and the outer spacy beeps of a dial up modem disappear. (Or has it already gone?)

So, what once commonplace sounds do you miss? What sounds are becoming rarer? And what new sounds do we hear every day? (The tinny beat of someone else’s ipod/MP3 player springs to mind!)

Get listening – and get writing!

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